UTAH HUNTING

Waterfowl hunting

2017 waterfowl hunt opener conditions

Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area

Wetland and marsh conditions

Unit 1 — Pondweed growth is very good on the main impoundment and good in the secondary impoundments. Over 1,500 acres of phragmites on the east side of the open water have been successfully grazed. In the secondary impoundments, grazing pressure was increased to open up more acreage.

West of Unit 1, thousands of acres were intensively grazed by cattle. This has opened areas that were once overgrown.

Unit 2 — Grazing pressure was increased in this area and the area overgrown with phragmites was extensively reopened. Because of prolonged runoff, a lot of great Alkali bulrush grew in this area. The area has just started being flooded, but should be flooded by the youth hunt.

Unit 3 — Pondweed growth was great this year. The stands that developed over the last few years have thickened and enlarged. Cattle have grazed the east side of the open water, which has opened overgrown areas. Phragmites were sprayed in the fall 2016, rolled in the spring and sprayed again from the ground in 2017. This area will be rolled again next spring, which will open the area up considerably. Be advised: a rest area is in place on Unit 3. The area is very well posted and there is absolutely no trespassing allowed in this area. The rest area is the two small impoundments that are on the south side of the road as you head to the Unit 3 boat launch.

Weber Delta — The South Weber Delta was mostly dry this summer and is in poor condition. Water is in the river impoundment, but the east dump basin is very low.

Pintail — Cattle grazed thousands of acres and have opened up a lot of overgrown areas. Water was sent out around September 10. Many of the areas should be flooded by the youth hunt, and most should be flooded by the general opener

Generally, all of the major impoundments are full and overflowing onto the westward flats. Marsh conditions are good to excellent in most areas. The Great Salt Lake elevation is 4193.7 feet, which is one foot, four inches higher than it was one year ago. The lake rose over three feet this spring, but the hot and dry summer evaporated a foot and a half of the increase. Phragmites control — by drawdown, grazing, or herbicide — occurred in several of the large sections of marsh. They may appear drought-stricken, but they are now flooding.

Bird numbers

Unit 1 — There are great bird numbers in the main impoundments. A fair number of birds are starting to build in the larger interior flats, which were reopened by grazing and are now flooded. A great number of ducks are starting to use the secondary ponds too.

Unit 2 — Water has just started being released to the area. Bird numbers will increase as soon as the area is flooded. Flats further west and the far northend ponds are expected, like last year, to gain large number of birds when they totally refill and interior hunting pressure forces the birds out.

Unit 3 — There are great bird numbers in the main impoundment. The west flats are just starting to get water, and bird numbers will increase as it floods.

Weber Delta — Numbers are fair on the North Weber Delta and poor on the South Weber Delta. Numbers will increase as these areas refill. The area holds a fair number of geese. The ducks are concentrated in the larger ponds and impoundments on the North Weber Delta.

Pintail — Numbers are good right now and are expected to increase to excellent later in the season on the westside flats, towards the Great Salt Lake.

Generally, birds are concentrated in units 1 and 3 on larger impoundments or ponds and flats. Remote ponds and flats far west of impoundments will increasingly hold larger numbers of the birds that are displaced from the areas that are easy for hunters to access.

Access

All of the outer gates to lower parking lots and boat launches will be open on Thursday, September 21, 2017. Vehicle access is good because most of the roadways and parking lots are mowed and in good shape. Most of the access roads will be graded by the general opener.

The north entrance will be open. Construction is complete on the new impoundment, and the road is graveled and in great condition. The new Band Slam project is being flooded and there are hundreds of geese using it.

There is a major issue on the north end of Ogden Bay. The bridge at the west parking lot has collapsed, so there is no foot access to the south side of the river. The boat launch, however, is still usable. Hunters hoping to hunt the area south of that parking lot will have to park in the east parking lot and walk to the west.

The Unit 1 boat channel is clear and usable. The Unit 3 boat channel will be clear and usable. A boat channel has been excavated around the southern-most, lowest walk bridge across the East Dike channel.

Hunting forecast

The youth hunt and the general opener should be great in the main impoundments and adjacent flats. After pre-hunt scouting and opening weekend pressure subsides, new birds should arrive and hunting should improve as the season progresses. In general, hunters will find the best hunting in better habitat and bird concentration areas detailed above. For walk-in hunters, the huge phragmites grazing treatment area is expected to provide excellent hunting this fall. The area is south of the west North Run parking lot and north of Parking Lot 2 from the south end. Pintail Flats and west of the impoundments should be the best late-season hunting areas.